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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  September 21, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: in the syrian civil war, a government warplane bombed a gas station, killing at least 30 people and wounding scores more. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> warner: and i'm margaret warner. on the "newshour" tonight, we have the latest on today's explosion and the continued heavy fighting between government and rebel forces. >> woodruff: then, we update the race for the white house as both campaigns raise record sums of money. >> warner: ray suarez examines new data showing the arctic ice cap shrinking to record low levels.
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>> woodruff: special correspondent steve sapienza has the story of the human toll on workers in thailand's shrimp industry. >> hundreds of factories large and small will ship over 200,000 tons of shrimp to the u.s. this year. but there's a darker side to the business here. one that involves human trafficking, corruption, and violence against workers. >> warner: we look at the growing use of potent and sometimes deadly street drugs, known as bath salts, also the subject of our extensive online report today. >> woodruff: plus, jeffrey brown explores an intriguing scrap of paper that just might show jesus was married. >> so jesus said to them-- that would be his disciples-- "my wife." it is the only extant piece of early christian literature where jesus talks about having a wife. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> warner: the fighting in syria flared back into the headlines today. air strikes in the north touched off a fiery blast that killed dozens of people. reports by syrian human rights and opposition groups ranged from at least 30 dead to more than 50. dark plumes of smoke filled the
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air from a massive explosion in ain issa-- 25 miles from the turkish border. opposition activists said a syrian fighter jet had attacked a gas station, triggering the blast. and turkey beefed up its forces on its side near a key syrian border outpost that rebels seized yesterday. on the diplomatic front, the u.s. and other members of the group friends of the syrian people met in the netherlands to discuss tightening economic sanctions on syria in a bid to push president bashar assad from power. >> what i can say is that i stick to the message that with regard to mr. bashar assad, it's not a question whether he will leave office but when he will leave office. >> warner: but in damascus, syria's minister of national reconciliation insisted other countries are the real obstacles to peace efforts by new u.n. envoy lakhdar brahimi. >> ( translated ): i would say
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that the issue facing mr. syrians are fully cooperative with him, his crisis is because of the credibility of the superpowers that are disabling the project of solving the syrian crisis. they have to become more realistic in accepting future solutions; those solutions that could be face-saving and could propose a solution for the syrian crisis. >> warner: in the meantime, syrian warplanes kept up their bombardment of residential areas near hama and elsewhere. and, amnesty international released a report, accusing the syrian military of indiscriminate targeting of civilians. it said the aim may be to punish towns and cities presumed sympathetic to the rebels. bill neely of "independent television news" is on the ground in damascus. we spoke earlier today via a portable satellite uplink. bill neely, thank you for joining us. tell us what you've been observing in damascus. how does the conflict look from where you are?
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>> well, i was last here two months ago and i would say then that the war was at the doorstep of damascus. i would say right now it's right in the front room of damascus and there's no question that president assad can look out his window any time he wants over this city and see it happening and hear it happening right in front of him. i've spent the last two days on the outskirts of three-- just as i speak there are more explosions in the background there. i've been on the outskirts of three districts in the south of the capital. now, they're not suburbs, they are in damascus city itself, and they are being bombarded relentlessly by the army which is also using russian-made mig warplanes. they say they're attacking rebels who are inside those districts and thaez that bombardment has been going on for days. there are reports that dozens,
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if not hundreds of people have been killed. the rebels say they withdrew from those districts yesterday partly because they ran out of ammunition. interestingly because they said they weren't getting the support of people in neighboring areas. so they made what they call a stra strategic withdrawal. but the result of the bombard is that everyday across the center of this capital there is a huge plume of black smoke. so anyone who ever thought the war wasn't coming to the very heart of damascus knows it now because they can see it and they can hear it and certainly in some of the areas you can actually smell it. >> pelley: does the fact that they withdrew from those neighborhoods where they've been fighting for a couple of weeks, does that suggest to you that the syrian army, is i don't know regaining momentum, at least in damascus? >> it's very difficult with the battles in every one of these cities, whether it's damascus or aleppo or homs-- and there's
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fighting in all three of those cities in a moment. you either see in a sense sense the glass half full or the glass half empty. first of all the rebels taken a area or dominate it and the regime forces are on the back foot. then the regime forces pound these cities with relentless air power, artillery, mortars and shelling and troops and they regain some momentum and the rebels leave. so it's a game of-- it's not a game, it's a war, but it's almost a cat-and-mouse thing. the rebels pop up in one place, they're hit, they withdraw, the assad forces occupy that area, but no sooner are they occupied than they are engaged in a battle somewhere else. and i think that's the story of this war. it seems to be one that either side at the moment, after 18 months, is quite capable of winning and president assad said today in a newspaper interview with an egyptian newspaper the
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rebels will not win this war. interestingly, he did not say "i will win." and perhaps that's because he's not quite so confident any more that he will win it. >> warner: the big story today out of syria was this attack by a fighter jet by the syrian fighter jet on a gas station near the turkish border. has the assad regime been using increasingly air power? and, if so, just tell us about it. >> well, the assad regime has definitely been using more and more air power. as for exactly what happened today, well, we know there was some kind of explosion or attack at this gas station. it seems that dozens are dead, at least that's what local people are saying, and they are blaming it on a regime warplane. it could be that the regime was retaliating because the free syrian army, the rebels, took
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over a check point in that area yesterday. this attack may have been, if you like, the revenge of the regime. but truth is very difficult to pin down. in this incident and in many others. but i think we can sway absolute certainty the the use of air power is increasing. we've seen migs, mig fighter jets across damascus in the last couple of days. i've seen attack helicopters circling, searching for targets in the area behind me. the rebels have been attacking from air just trying to count they are threat. they've brought down at least one mig and many helicopters. now, is the use of air power by president assad a game changer? well, you cannot win a war from 10,000 feet, but you can't disrupt-- you can disrupt the rebels and you can inflict massive casualties and that's certainly happening. human rights groups saying
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there's indiscriminate bombing by warplanes of residential areas and that civilians are being slaughtered. and the death toll is certainly increasing. i mean, last month was a record. 5,400 people reported killed last month, including 4,000 civilians. undoubtedly the use of air power contributed to that death toll and this month it's no better. the death toll is hundreds everyday. and if the reports of that air strike on a gas station are true then it will be hundreds dead today across this country. >> warner: well, bill neely of itn news, thank you very much. >> woodruff: still to come on the "newshour": the race for campaign money; the melting arctic ice; the high cost of cheap shrimp; the dangers of synthetic drugs and a provocative piece of papyrus. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: an independent panel will investigate the attack in libya that killed u.s. ambassador christopher stevens. he died on september eleventh,
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when gunmen assaulted the american consulate in benghazi. three other americans also were killed in the attack. the assault came during protests against an anti-islamic film made in the u.s. the u.s. embassy in pakistan put out ads today, condemning that same film. the ads ran on pakistani television and featured clips of president obama and secretary of state hillary clinton condemning the film. still, hundreds of demonstrators tried to reach the embassy in islamabad, by pushing aside huge shipping containers that cordoned off the area. riot police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. a report on a bungled operation against gun-trafficking in arizona drew praise today from house republicans. they've been investigating "operation fast and furious" for months. at a hearing, the justice department's inspector general michael horowitz listed a string of mistakes by federal law enforcement officials trying to track illegal guns.
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hundreds of the weapons ended up with mexican drug gangs. >> what we heard from the agents was they had made a conscious decision that the long-term effort, that having a long-term investigative strategy that dismantled a large organization was the greater good that they were undertaking, to dismantle the organization, stop the trafficking, and that that was what they believed was in the best interest of the public safety as we found, that was an incorrect calculation. >> holman: horowitz has referred 14 people for possible disciplinary action, based on his findings. but, he found no evidence attorney general eric holder knew about the troubled operation. committee chair darrell issa praised the overall report, but suggested holder and other officials could have done more. >> nothing in this report vindicates anyone. if you touched, looked, could have touched, could have looked,
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could have asked for information that could have caused you to intervene, to complain, to worry, to talk to people and you didn't and you are in our government or even if you aren't in our government but were aware of it, you fell short of your responsibility. >> holman: house republicans already have voted to find holder in contempt of congress for refusing to release some internal documents related to "fast and furious". democrats have dismissed that effort as a partisan witch hunt. there was word today that bank of america will cut 16,000 jobs by year's end. "the wall street journal" reported the cost-cutting plan was outlined in a document given to senior bank management. the cuts are part of an already announced effort to eliminate 30,000 positions. it will mean fewer bank of america branches, and a smaller mortgage unit. the day's other economic news mostly held wall street in check. first-time jobless claims dipped a bit last week, but they remained too high to suggest strong hiring.
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and manufacturing fell again in the mid-atlantic region. in response, the dow jones industrial average managed a gain of about 19 points to close near 13,597. the nasdaq fell six points to close below 3,176. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: and we turn to the campaign trail, where both the president and mitt romney are being asked to defend their positions on how to handle the millions of people in the country illegally. the focus was on hispanic voters in battleground florida where the immigration issue took center stage. president obama was in miami, at a spanish language town hall sponsored by univision and facebook. there, he was asked about his failure to keep a 2008 pledge of comprehensive immigration reform within his first year. >> and a promise is a promise.
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and with all due respect, you didn't keep that promise. >> well, here's what i would say, jorge, is that-- and we've had this conversation before. there's the thinking that the president is somebody who is all-powerful and can get everything done. in our branch of-- in our system of government, i am the head of the executive branch. i'm not the head of the legislature. i'm not the head of the judiciary. we have to have cooperation from all these sources in order to get something done. and so i am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn't get it done, but i did not make a promise that i would get everything done 100% when i was elected as president. >> woodruff: claiming congressional republicans walked away from an immigration overhaul, mr. obama used his administration's support of the "dream act" -- to aid immigrants brought to the u.s. illegally as children-- to draw a distinction. >> that stands in contrast with the other candidate who has said
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he would veto the dream act, that he is uncertain about what his plan for immigration reform would be, and who considers the arizona law a model for the nation and has suggested that the main solution for immigration is self-deportation. >> woodruff: mitt romney spoke to the same forum last night, when asked for his take on the dream act, he offered few specifics. >> for those that are already here and that are undocumented, that were brought in here by their parents and therefore are illegal aliens in this country, my view is that we should put in place a permanent solution. >> woodruff: during the republican primaries early this year, romney was firm he would gn the dream act if elected, and outlined his own plan to deal with others here illegally. >> the answer is self- deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here.
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>> woodruff: but he offered a softer tone last night. >> are you going to deport them or not? i'm not that clear? >> boo! >> i think i have some friends apparently. jorge, i think i just answered the last part of your question which is i said that i'm not in favor of... ( applause ) ...a deportation-- mass deportation effort, rounding people up, 12 million people and taking them out of the country. i believe people make their own choices as to whether they want to go home. >> woodruff: facing criticism he'd written off half the population based on remarks he made at a private fundraising dinner, romney defended his views. >> my campaign is about the 100% in america. >> woodruff: romney continued his swing through florida, today, with an event in sarasota. and this morning, his campaign began airing ads in both english and spanish in the sunshine state.
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just one example of how each campaign is expected to spend an unprecedented amount of money leading up to november 6. as the money keeps flowing, we >> woodruff: romney's campaign announce head had $54.million as of august 31. romney also paid back $15 million of a $20 million loan he took out before his convention. the president's team hasn't released its cash on hand figure for the end of august. we're taking a step back now to understand more about how political fund-raising has evolved this election cycle. far we're joined by james bennett who writes about the aftereffects of the supreme court's citizens united decision. in the october edition of the "atlantic" magazine. he's the editor-in-chief there. and anne gerhart, a national political writer at the "washington post." good to have you both with us. ann gerhart, let me start with you. in the last few days we've had a
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table's eye view of a $50,000 fund-raiser mitt romney attended last may. there were controversial comments he made there. setting what he said aside, how typical was that event and what we heard about it? what we saw of it of all the fund-raisers for both campaign this is season? >> well, i think that fund raiser is the kind of fund-raiser that sparks interest because those people pay $50,000 for an okay dinner, nothing special, but to have that kind of intimate exchange with the candidate. there are all kinds of fund-raisers, the ones that are intended to bring out young people and then sometimes those if you pay $2,500 maybe you'll get your picture with the first lady there's kind of like teared things so these exclusive fund-raisers, romney has developed throughout this campaign, in fact he is back in palm beach county this evening to do another one.
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>> woodruff: and what kind of people-- we know there are people with money. business people? celebrities? what kind of folks are we talking about that the are able to do this? >> woodruff: i think he has a lot of equity people. each candidate has his or her own crowd. john edwards had lawyers, he has equity people. the people at the one in boca raton at which he was speaking there were a couple doctors there who may have been investors of the man whose house it was who has an equity fund. i think donors usually fall broadly into one of two categories. i don't know if james would agree with this. but ideological donors and access donors and access donors want a kind of specific regulatory control toll what what they do and ideological donors believe in a cause or the party's causes, you know? george soros, who gave a lot of money to the democrats, is someone who didn't seek to influence any particular piece of legislation but felt very
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strongly about a broad array of progressive policies. so equity people talk a lot about taxes. high donors as both parties people have told me always talk a lot about their taxes. whether they're democrats or republicans. part of the green party. >> pelley: would you agree that break down? i also want to talk about the difference between giving the the candidates and parties and those giving huge amounts of noun the super pacs >> i think that's a very good analysis, very good breakdown. one thing that should be noted is the very fact that both candidates are fund-raising right now, to the degree they are. and they're holding more fund-raisers in some weeks than they are public events. it's a radical change. we always feel like there's so much money in politics nothing changes. but there's been a public financing system in place since the watergate era for presidential candidates. this this is the first time both major party candidates have
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rejected that system and they're frantically trying to raise as much money as they can because so much is poring in from the outside. >> woodruff: the must be is being spent on television advertising, consultants, people who work for them. the ground game. >> direct mail all those things. some of it goes to enrich political operatives. but advertising remains the lion's share of it. >> woodruff: but you write a lot in your piece, you write the philosophical argument about the pros and cons of big, big money in elections. the people who give to these outside groups, the super pacs, that were made possible by the citizens united supreme court decision different from those who give to the candidates directly. >> no, no. in many cases it's the very same people simply seeking another way. they've hit their-- the limits. you can still only give $2,500 as a single donor to a presidential candidate. they hit that limit and they can give as much as they want to one
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of the super pacs. >> woodruff: and you spent a lot of time talking to a conservative lawyer named james bach who's out there advocating unlimited giving. what's his main argument for? >> the fundamental argument which he has now successfully pushed through the courts up to the supreme court and used to really batter down the regulations around campaign finance to deregulate the system is that money is speech. that this is free speech. it's a first amendment issue. people should be able to support whatever candidate they want, whatever they choose and he resents the very term "outside group." he said that itself betray it is bias. that american democracy doesn't permit the notion of outside groups. we're supposed to be including as many people as possible in the process. >> woodruff: ann, from what you know of having covered politics for a long time and also covering these kinds of fund-raising events, how comfortable are the people who
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are giving with the publicity that may or may not come along? a lot of times their names are not disclosed but when they are how do they feel about them? >> well in many ways there's been also this social and cultural aspect of giving among a certain clutch of people and so you will have people say they would like to remain anonymous, of course, and then if the campaign leak it is name of their bundlers-- and these are people who actually have collected the maximum from a variety of other people. so let's say they've raised several million dollars for the campaign. they'll say things like "yeah, i just didn't want my name to get out." but there's a sort of sense of pride and positioning. if you do enough of that, as we know, you may get an ambassadorship and a nice posting as opposed to a horrible place like syria so i think that they are not always comfortable. some of them are. the idea of them being closed to the public is so they can feel free to ask questions.
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>> to follow up on that, i think it depends on the donor. in general they're happy to have their names known the candidate, not necessarily known publicly. particularly to people who view this as a transactional relationship and one of the things that's changed now is that we're seeing a tremendous amount, this cycle of completely undisclosed money pouring into this campaign. we don't know where it's coming from and where it's being spent in a lot of cases. and that's because people are exploiting a loophole in the tax law to-- the so-called 501c4 groups which are meant to be-- public welfare groups are being hijacked and used for attack ads. >> woodruff: and you see this continuing at this rate? >> yeah, i think we're at the very beginning of this. unfortunately it's part of the citizens united decision, as you say, and partly a completely broken regulatory system. there are things that we could do that it's not a question of just the courts, congress could act to compel disclosure, the
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i.r.s. could tighten loopholes. the federal election commission could insist on tighter rules so there are things that could be done. it's unfortunately both a cause and an effect of our political paralysis. >> woodruff: we'll leave you there, thank you both for being with us, james bennett, ann gerhart. >> warner: now, rapid warming leads to record melting in the artic. ray suarez has the story. >> suarez: the seasonal shrinkage in arctic ice is more extensive than ever before as seen in this animation. the rate of melting increases in the spring and summer months and reaches its peak in september. according to the national snow and ice data center the low point came on sunday when ice covered just 24% of the arctic ocean. the previous low of 29% was set in 2007. walt meier is a research
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scientist at the national ice and snow data center. his work specialized in sea ice and its impact on climate and, walt meier, as we mentioned, there's always a freeze-and-thaw cycle during the year. what was different about 2012? >> this year was different in that it was the lowest we've ever seen in our satellite record which dates back to 1979 and it kind of-- it puts an exclamation point on a long-term trend that we've been seeing over those years since 1979 of less and less sea ice at the end of each summer and this year was much less than anything we had seen before. >> suarez: when you talk about a long-term trend, how far back to the records go. close observation of the amount of cover. >> the close observation we have, the complete satellite record that we have starts in 1979 and that's where we have very high confidence, very complete data. before that the data is not quite as complete as we have after that, but we do have some records that go back to the
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1930s. >> suarez: are there other kinds of evidence that you can look at to infer the ice cover? other kinds of physical evidence that go back further than '72? >> yes, we do have what are called paleorecords which are based on things like ice cores or, in the case of sea ice in particular, sediment cores that we can take from the arctic ocean, the bottom of the arctic ocean and the sediment is different under ice versus under open ocean, particularly because of the organisms, there's different organisms that live in the open ocean versus that live in the ice and when they die they fall on to the ocean bottom and those records go back several thousand years and tell us not a complete picture but a good idea of what the conditions were like in general going back to that time period. >> suarez: walt meier, this is a part of the world where i guess 99% of humanity will never venture. is there anything that goes on up there as far as ice melt and
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refreezing that has an affect on what happens in the skies over the united states? >> indeed, there is. the arctic sea ice essentially is a big reflector of solar energy during the summer and that keeps the arctic cooler than it normally would be. it acts like an air conditioner for the earth's climate system and that helps not only keep the arctic cooler but also the globe as well. and it's basically a safe for heed that comes in at the equator, gets transported to the north you lose the heat in the arctic. and that transfer of eat from the equator to the poles, that essentially helps set up things like the jet stream, prevailing winds, weather tracks. so as we start to lose the ice cover and warm up the arctic, essentially that's changing the balance between the kuwaitor and the poles and that will shift
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things like storm tracks and the jet stream and that will change weather patterns and we've seen some evidence of that already and we expect to see more in the future, although we're still in the early stages of understanding that completely. >> suarez: you know, it's a commonplace in stories written about what's happening in greenland, what's happening in the arctic sea that it's happening faster than climate scientists predicted in their models. what's the significance of that? >> well, there's a couple things it means. the models may not be fully capturing all the processes and the speed of the processes that are occurring in the earth's climate system. there's also probably some role in terms of the natural variation of the climate that you could have times where things speed up a little bit more and other times where they slow down and the models don't necessarily catch all those kind of speed up and slow down periods. they're just looking at kind of the long-term trends.
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but we are seeing things go much faster than what the models had projected. the models had suggested that we may see a summer without-- with very little ice by the end of this century. that's something that, you know, our grandchildren or even great grandchildren might have to deal with. but now we're looking at perhaps within 20 years and that's something many of us alive today will have to adapt to and those changes that will be a result of that. >> suarez: should we assume it's going to be even worse next summer? next september? >> we can't do that. because there's a lot of variation from year to year in the arctic sea ice and in climate in general. and typically we do see kind of ups and downs along this kind of overall declining trend and accelerating trend in recent years. but often times after we hit a record low we see l see things bounce back and it may be even kind of stable for several years. we don't foresee going back to the levels we were back in the
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1980s, but we may see things level out for a while before dropping again. >> suarez: walt meier of the national ice and snow data center, thanks for joining us. >> all right. thank you. thank you for having me. >> woodruff: next, the demand for cheap shrimp has sparked abuses in thailand's growing industry. americans consume more imported shrimp from thailand than any other country. our report is part of a collaboration with the pulitzer center on crisis reporting. it comes from special correspondent steve sapienza in thailand. >> reporter: thailand is the source of one third of all shrimp imported by the u.s. each year, and the low price has fueled a growing appetite for it. the shrimp industry in thailand is thriving. hundreds of factories, large and small, will ship over 200,000 tons of shrimp to the u.s. this year, generating over $1 billion in revenue. but there's a darker side to the business here.
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one that involves human trafficking, corruption, and violence against workers. migrants from nearby burma are the lifeblood of the thai shrimp industry. most thais wont work for the low wages paid by the shrimp producers. today as many as 400,000 burmese migrants work in samut sakhon, where 40% of thailand's shrimp are peeled and frozen for export. only 70,000 workers are legally registered. >> there are an estimated 1,200- 1,300 factories. 300-400 of which are not registered with the government. >> reporter: thai labor activist sampong sakaew says the most severe abuses occur in the network of unregistered, almost invisible, peeling sheds that supply shrimp to larger factories for export to the u.s. >> the small factory owners know that most of their workers are undocumented, so they can control the work force however they want; such as locking workers in until they finish their work. there are also teenagers between 12-17 years old in the work force.
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>> ( translated ): we were made to work from 3:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. we earned about $6 a day. our hands were like machines. >> reporter: like most migrants, ko ngwe htay was eager to leave burma, where jobs are scarce and salaries very low. the father of five children easily found a labor broker and paid in advance for a job in thailand. >> ( translated ): i was smuggled in. my village had burned down. we had nothing to get by. we had some gold that we sold and we used that to get here. >> reporter: when ko ngwe's family reached thailand and began work, the peeling shed owner trapped them in debt. >> ( translated ): we had to pay for everything ourselves, for the meals, for the housing. we didn't earn a daily wage. we earned based on how many kilograms of shrimp we peeled. if we finished, for example, 30 kilos, we only got paid for 20 kilos. >> reporter: ko ngwe's 16-year- old daughter was the fastest shrimp peeler in the shed, a distinction that earned her no favor with the owner. >> ( translated ): my hands were so painful that i could not even
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put on the gloves. i said i wanted to go to the clinic, and then take only one day off. but she, the owner, cursed me. and then she called her brother and threatened me. she said if i do not work, she will lock me up with her brother in a room. >> reporter: after six months, kong we managed a phone call relatives, who bought his family's freedom from the factory owner. he still lives in thailand, now working to pay back his relatives in burma. >> ( translated ): the police are not willing to cooperate and certain laws regarding exploitation and human trafficking are loosely enforced. the brokers may be arrested, but their employers and factory owners are able to bail them out of jail. >> reporter: andy hall researches burmese migrant labor issues at thailand's prestigious mahidol university. >> i think the industry, as a whole, is not regulated properly. and i don't think there is
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enough traceability-- where the shrimp is coming from and that's where the exploitation comes in. >> reporter: the spokesman for the thai frozen food association, arton piboonthanapatana insists the shrimp industry supply chain is not tainted by labor violations. can you guarantee to u.s. consumers that the shrimp that is produced here in thailand is free from child labor and also exploitive labor practices? >> if the shrimp is from t.f.f.a. members, i can 100% guarantee this. >> reporter: part of his guarantee rests on weekly inspections conducted by the t.f.f.a. at its member factories. >> we are making unannounced visits to our members and also to all the suppliers at the moment. so if anyone get caught to use child labor or to abuse the workforce, they automatically get expelled from t.f.f.a. >> reporter: but critics point out problems with industry-led audits. >> we do know that when speaking with workers that often when
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there are audits in the factories, children will be sent home, half of the workforce that doesn't have documents will be asked to stay home. so generally when these audits happen people know in advance that are they are going to happen and conditions are improved which suggests they are being deceived. >> reporter: so three years of doing these inspections almost every friday, you have found no violations? no child laborers? >> no. >> reporter: no problems with passports being withheld from workers or workers being paid below minimum wage? >> no. >> they'll look at the factories that are packaging and exporting, where the conditions are reasonable, most of these are big international companies, are being audited, and they are, but nobody is looking where the shrimp come from. >> reporter: the thai shrimp industry does not allow independent, third-party audits of its factories and peeling sheds. however, our own investigation, using a worker with a hidden camera, confirmed workplace
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violations in a peeling shed that supplies a top exporter of shrimp to the u.s. market. >> i saw four children. they were about 15 years old. i think 20 out of the 50 workers do not have work permits. >> reporter: the lack of transparency in the thai shrimp industry has contributed to thailand's poor human trafficking record. for the third year in a row, thailand has been placed on the u.s. state department's watch list for not showing evidence of increasing efforts to address human trafficking compared to the previous year. >> ( translated ): to a certain extent, the thai government is serious about the matter as they are heavily accused of human trafficking by the u.s. government to solve the problem, there needs to be cooperation between factory owners, the government sector and n.g.o.s involved. but there is an obstacle to a resolution due to corruption of officials and bribery. >> reporter: critics warn that
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until the thai shrimp industry opens its factories to independent audits, the shrimp it exports will likely remain tainted by human trafficking. >> warner: steve sapienza has reported other stories about the price of producing items many of us take for granted. find a link on our website to the pulitzer center's "global goods-local costs" page. >> woodruff: and we turn to a story we posted online earlier today. we've done extensive reporting on a set of drugs commonly known as bath salts. these street drugs have been on the rise in recent years and pose serious problems for law enforcement. they are packaged to look like common household products with names like "lady bubbles" or "white dove." but the chemicals in them and the high they produce can be devastating for lives and communities. their effects can be stronger and longer-lasting than other drugs like amphetamines.
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researchers are trying to understand how they work and how the chemistry behind them continues to change. louis de felice is one of those researchers studying this new class of substances at virginia commonwealth university. he joins me now from richmond. thank you for being with us. and let me just start by saying when people hear the term "bath salts" maybe they think of epsom salts that you would buy in a pharmacy or drugstore but this is very different. tell us what they are. >> well, you're right it's very different than the name implies. it's a benign street name i think invented to make it sound harmless. these chemicals are very different and very dangerous than their name implies. >> woodruff: how long have they been around? >> they became popular a few years ago, at least in america. they've been around longer in eastern europe and the u.k. and the basic component of the
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drug-- which is called kethanone and the derivatives have been around hundreds and maybe even thousands of years. it's a naturally occurring substance from which bath salts are derived. >> woodruff: so tell us, dr. de felice, how are they used and how are they different from other illegal drugs we're familiar hearing about, methamphetamine, for example. >> well, first of all, bath salts is not a defined substance. it's a combination of drugs. there are several main components in bath salts so it contain what is are called kethanones, specifically synthetic ones. and some of them behave like methamphetamine but other of the synthetic kethanones behave like
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cocaine. so it's an insidious combination of two drugs, one of which, the methamphetamine like component releases dopamine into the brain and the other called n.d.p.v. actually prevents dopamine from being taken up again. so it's as if a person were to take methamphetamine and cocaine in just the right way to keep the high in the brain for long periods of time. >> woodruff: what affect does that of v on a person? >> well, dopamine is a transmitter used for quite a few normal human functions, locomotion. it's also involved in mood and cognition. so the effects can be loc motor, they can be effects on a person's ability toll move and function normally. but also hallucinations and cognitive disorders very similar to what you would have on a methamphetamine high or a cocaine high but the combination is particularly devastating and
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longer lasting. >> woodruff: when you say devastating, what do you mean? >> i will. the phenotype of a person on bath salts-- and, remember, bath salt isn't just one well defined combination of drugs-- is very peculiar. first of all, the person apparently feel extreme powers of strength and ability to sense pain. very hard to subdue and hold down. the abusers of bath salts also frequently and for some unknown reason take their clothes off and tear away at their body parts. so these are unusual features of a drug abuser that are phenotype for bath salts themselves and allow enforcement agencies to determine or at least identify whether or not the people are using bath salts. >> woodruff: finally, dr. de
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felice, why is it so important to get the word out about this substance? >> well, i think it is important because it's very cheap, it's readily available. it's a-- as i already said it's a combination of drug, some of which could be very dangerous, almost in a lethal sense very dangerous. so i think it's important for news agencies to make the public aware of the importance and severity of these drugs and i also think it's important to do research in this area so we can find out more about these drugs and our research is funded by the national institutes of health. >> woodruff: and we know that obviously these drugs have led to death in a number of instances. >> yes, yes that's the ultimate sort of self-degradation which, of course, is suicide. and some of these abusers have actually committed suicide, that's credibility. >> woodruff: louis de felice at virginia commonwealth university we thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> woodruff: online, read the extensive story by our reporter,
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jenny marder. she digs deeper into what makes these drugs so long lasting and uniquely dangerous and profiles the scientists who have tried to uncover and understand the chemistry of bath salts. >> warner: finally tonight, a new piece of a possibly very old text is raising questions about whether jesus was married. jeffrey brown recorded this story yesterday. >> brown: on this scrap of papyrus no bigger than a credit card, are words sure to ignite new debate among christians the world over. >> so jesus said to them-- that would be his disciples-- my wife. this is, of course, the most remarkable thing about our papyrus. it is the only extant piece of early christian literature where jesus talks about having a wife. >> brown: karen king is a harvard professor who's translated and studied the text-
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written in coptic, an egyptian language and presented her findings to a coptic studies conference in rome yesterday. if authenticated and king herself said more work needs to be done-- the fragment could raise new questions about beliefs among early christians about jesus and his relationship with mary magdalene.othetexts, especially a text called the gospel of philip and in addition to that the gospel of mary that have talked about this close relationship between jesus and mary magdalene, and yet scholars have consistently and i must say myself included you know in the past, that have argued that oh no that language is all spiritual. >> brown: still, the announcement met with some skepticism from fellow scholars. >> there is something about this fragment in its appearance and also in the grammar of the coptic that strikes me as being not completely convincing somehow. >> brown: king and other scholars have dated the papyrus to the fourth century but still plan to be chemically tested to further verify its age.
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joining me to discuss the text is author and journalist ariel sabari. he joins us from rome. well, first i want to ask you about the fragment itself. there's a lot-- there's a lot that isn't known about this papyrus fragment, right in? such as even where it came from. so what can you tell us? >> well, what we know is back in the summer of 2010 a private collector e-mail professor karen king at harvard saying "i've got this small papyrus fragment, i'm not sure what it says, can i send you photographs for you to take a look at?" and she sort of blows him off for a while but eventually she does take a look at it and is quite intrigued because there's this sort of bombshell phrase in the middle of the papyrus in the ancient egyptian language of coptic "jesus said to them: my wife." but it's a small fragment. if you look at it, it's smaller than an it yes, ma'am card.
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>> suarez: so if written in the 4th century, that would be long after the death of jesus. so are scholars looking at this as possibly telling us about him and his life as a sort of biography or is it more just-- just for context is it thinking about how the early christian communities thought about jesus? >> yeah, that's a great question. care king is very explicit and she's said over and over again because there is a temptation to sensationalize this as saying something about the real life jesus. that's not the claim she is making. this was simply written too late to have any bearing on the life of jesus christ. what is interesting about this, if we assume for the moment that it is authentic is that it tells us that there were a group of christians in the early years of christianity who believed christ was married. who thought that they-- there was something important about portraying jesus as married and that's sort of the bigger take away for professor king.
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>>. >> suarez: and all of that fits in into modern day scholarship and debates within the scholarship about those early christian communities and their beliefs, particularly vis-a-vis the role of women. >> absolutely. i mean, one of the things we're discovering from these texts that did not make it into the canon cal new testament. if you're a true believer you call them her radical gospels, all of these terms are in dispute. but one of the things we've been able to see as these gospels have come to light over the last century a s that there are raucous debates over all kinds of things, including marriage and sexuality. one of the questionsing the debated is did you have to be celibate to be a good christian? and in knowing at least one group of christians portrayed jesus as married, here we have an example of the leading figure of christianity who himself has a wife and not only a wife but if you read this text the way
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professor king does a wife who is able to be a disdisciple. so you have a woman and in king's reading very possibly mary magdalene who is not only portrayed as a wife but also someone who's able to be a disciple and certainly the question of women's role in the church is one that's still being debated today and, you know, the catholic church still will only open the priesthood to celibate men. so this could have bearing on those debates. >> suarez: to the extent that these subjects are still very sensitive, has there been an official reaction or a reaction from the church? you here that in rome from the roman catholic church or from other scholars that might, i don't know, help us see where this might be going in terms of what it does open up? >> certainly one of the ironic things and one of the things that the roman and italian press raised today as i was following professor king around at the conference was, you know, you
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choose to announce this directly across the street from the vatican. the institute where the conference was held was literally across the street from st. peter's basilica. and, of course, that's just sort of a matter of circumstance. but the appearance there is that you know, there's a claim being made about something that's held very, very dear to the catholic church, this motion of jesus' celibacy. and, in fact, today i noticed that the vatican did issue an official statement to one news organization saying "this changes nothing." there's clear long tradition
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her decision to publicize this before before the is are dotted and the "t"s crossed. she's already crowd sourcing this. she has two very, very big scholars, experts in papyrus and in the coptic language who have said this is legitimate, this doesn't look like a forgery but there are other tests that remain to be conducted, including an analysis of the ink on the papyrus which will tell us whether. so what she's doing is a way that is courageous and is saying "here's what i think, here's what my experts tell me, now you have a look." one of the things she's doing and that harvard is doing is permitting other accredited
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scholars to come and have a look at this thing for themselves and decide whether this meets the smell test, if you will. and i think that that process is very much continuing. when i went back to the conference today and spoke to some of her colleagues, some were very enthusiastic, this is exciting, this will hope a whole new vein of scholarship. others had very serious questions about not only its authenticity but also about the handwriting, whether it could truly be dated to the fourth century and another question is whether this was part of the gospel. it's a tiny fragment, who knows where it came from. it's hard to say whether it came out of a codex, which means sort of a book, or whether it's quite simply a scrap someone doing creative writing 1600 years ago. who knows how widely red it might have been. so there are a lot of unanswered questions but what we know now is that it's a provocative announcement and one likely to invite years of research and inquiry.
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>> suarez: ariel sabar in rome, thank you so much. >> thank you so much for having me. >> warner: in jeff's piece you saw excerpts from an hour-long documentary examining the story of the papyrus. that premieres on the smithsonian channel, september 30 at 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific time. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day: government warplanes in syria bombed a gas station, killing at least 30 people and wounding scores more. and in florida, president obama again criticized mitt romney for saying nearly half of americans believe they are victims. the president said most people want a hand up, not a hand out. romney-- also in florida-- said, "i care about every person in america." online we look at a documentary about the aftermath of hurricane katrina. kwame holman has the details. >> holman: jeffrey brown talks to director jonathan demme about his film titled "i'm carolyn parker: the good, the mad, and the beautiful." it follows a remarkable resident of new orleans' ninth ward. the film airs tonight on "p.o.v." on most pbs stations.
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our reporter, dan sagalyn went on board a u.s.aircraft carrier in the persian gulf. it's conducting the largest ever military exercise to rehearse finding and destroying explosive sea mines. read his story and see his photos. and a second slideshow offers images taken by young photographers in the dominican republic. they are part of an exhibit to promote tolerance. that's on the rundown. all that and more is on our website: margaret? >> warner: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm margaret warner. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
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